Whilst there will be bigger GiGs in the Ironworks this week(damn Mumford and Sons )Alabama 3 highlights what the venue was built for; good entertainment with edge. Alabama 3 have had several visits to the Highlands, with their performances at the festival of particular note and you can tell why they so easily fit and thrive in the festival vibe.
The Acoustic and Unplugged Alabama 3 offered the band the opportunity to play versions of their songs that are more akin to their main influences. In doing so their is an additional honesty to their songs that gets a little lost in production.
Sara Bills was a late choice for support, the crowd at this stage were about a hundred or so however that did not hide their appreciation of her music. It struck me how strong her voice, even in a massive setting such as the Ironworks. Showcasing some of her bands material I am sure she wan a few more fans.
The Show and the Music can be taken discretely,Larry Love can orchestrate the audience, just like he leads the band doing so with a confidence that relies heavily on the “We are what we are” ethos. Larry had loads to say (we would love to interview him one day) with politics being one of his favourite subjects. You can see how Alabama 3 fit in to the politics of current day,as they have evolved over the 80’s, and could become the voice of the disenchanted again in these difficult times. Drugs and Alabama 3 are also inextricably linked with banter of drug use and empathy that would have drug advisers up in arms, but that’s part of the point and contributes to the “up the establishment “message.
So what about the music? Larry’s voice did appear a little more hoarse than before (probably helped by the orange juice he started drinking on stage (well it looked like orange juice), which in all fairness was replaced by swigging from a bottle of Buckfast that had made its way on stage. This was more than compensated by Aurora Dawn’s gorgeous deep and contrasting voice. It was however after the first couple of songs that a pace (and interaction with audience was established), frequent apologies for missed lines or confused verses did follow, but did any body care (whilst the honesty was refreshing, not convinced anybody off the stage noticed). More commonly known tunes such as “Hello… I’m Johnny Cash” seemed to loose a little in conversion (although I suspect that this is due how often I have heard the other version). Of course the encore featured “Woke Up One Morning” and, whilst there is a massive conflict in the origins of the song and the sing-along anthem it is, was an obvious musical highlight.
All in all, whether it be the charisma of Love or the vocals of Dawn, a night to be remembered.